I was recently asked to take an exclamation point off of an obituary sentence.The family had written and emailed me their dad's obituary to be used on the funeral home website. I routinely apply certain formatting to ensure that arrangement details are easily understood. I also tweak grammar, spelling, sentence structure and redundancies because 99% of the time, families ask me to save them embarrassment by polishing their under-stress composition.
|"Taxis to hell - and back," Library of Congress|
It was a pulse-quickening read--the kind that becomes a great movie--volleys of exclamation marks were firing in my brain. I added one exclamation mark to the story and posted the obituary to the website.
A short time later, the phone call came: "Please remove that exclamation mark."
I confessed my enthusiasm, but complied, and it took awhile to shake off the cold water that was thrown on my zealous respect for this man.
I firmly believe that our memories are richest when they have !!!! -- that is the great blessing of a life well lived.
Around the time of that encounter, I discovered a true champion of obituaries. Susan Soper, a career journalist, states:
"You are unique, and so is your story. You don't have to be rich and famous to have tales to tell."ObitKit. Writing a memoir is daunting work but this easy to use book interviews your loved one. It is intended to be used by a family before death shuts the door on asking questions! I encourage readers to visit Susan's site.
Obituaries and condolence notes are vitally connected!Whenever possible, track down and read the obituary of the deceased, before writing your note. When you make a habit of this, you will become a connoisseur of those which are beautifully written, but more importantly, you will gain numerous facts for written reflection.
- connecting generations
Yes, it is challenging to make observations from a lean death notice, but it can be done. You may need to postpone your note until you have had an insightful conversation, viewed photos, attended a memorial gathering or service. I address these methods in my post, Don't Rush Your Condolence.
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